2013: The Year in Review

My oh my! We have had a very big year! Here are some of the highlights!

We hosted First Saturday demo days with topics ranging from Re-Styling your Home to hands on Chalk Paint® Color book creation.

We shared the day to day progress on our Show Booth transformation on our facebook page! That was fun. We gave our customers, clients, colleagues and friends a glimpse into our every day work life.

a day in the life photo collage at Artworks Spokane

Like us on facebook to see what we’re up to throughout the year.

Shortly after our first show we participated in a competition in another Home Show – The White Room Challenge.

Artworks White Room Kitchen

And here is our finished product!

We kept ourselves incredibly busy with custom jobs. We beautified floors – inside and out, showers, TONS of kitchen cabinets and countertops, pool surrounds, walls, furniture, and much much more!

Some pics of a few of our jobs… just a small sampling:

Fireplace update by Artworks Spokane new pulpit embellished by Artworks Spokane

Back Patio, acid stained concrete by Artworks Spokane

the back patio – acid stained concrete!

Front walk way - acid stained concrete by Artworks Spokane

Front walk way – acid stained concrete

In September we went REALLY BIG and opened a second location in Coeur d’Alene, ID! Oh wow! This was a lot of work and sooooooo much fun!

more inventory coming into the Artworks Coeur d'Alene store

A little messier this time – and everything has been moved at least 4 times EACH!

Shortly after that we hosted a National Training Class for Chalk Paint® decorative paint. We love throwing a party, hosting, entertaining, and sharing our love of creating!

National Stockist Training with Barb Skivington 2013 at Artworks Spokane.Throw in classes, consultations, questions, playing around with Chalk Paint®, meetings, social media posts, newsletters, advertising, and a good dose of laughter and you have our year in review. We are a family around here! Thank you for such a fabulous, monumental year! We’re looking forward to another one with even more growth!

As always your comments, shares, likes, and feedback are encouraged. Cheers!

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Custom Fun: SkimStone bathroom

We have had the recent pleasure of helping a client with a “new build” bathroom. Our portion of the project was the floor and shower surround. The client chose SkimStone Decorative Concrete for these two surfaces. The bathroom will be a modern space and clean lines and sleek pieces.

first coat skimstone on a bathroom floorAfter two coats of bonding primer we installed the first coat of SkimStone using the color Storm. The floor finish will be seamless between the bathroom and walk-in shower. The hole in the center of the floor is for a free standing modern soaker tub. We can’t wait to post pictures of the finished product!

Skimstone decorative concrete on the shower floor and walls

A glimpse into the shower area.

The second coat of the floor was a skip trowel finish for movement and texture. We used Oystershell for this coat.

Finished bathroom floor with two color SkimStone decorative concrete application.

Just a touch of shine once the floor is finished with a seal coat. Now it’s ready for the rest of the bathroom to take shape.

The shower walls received a stenciled border in a tone on tone color palette for an understated element of interest.

A wave stencil adds interest to the cement walls.

Waves add interest to the cement walls.

The homeowner wanted a bench at the end of the shower.

The shower bench spans the full depth of the shower.

The bench was initially a corner seat, but upon further reflection the homeowner determined a full length bench would be more beneficial.

The bathroom has several windows. The main area has a big picture window by the location of the soaker tub. The shower has three windows to bring natural light to the area.

Skimstone shower surround

The shower head is flanked with two “windows” to the main bathroom area allowing light from the picture window above the tub to spill into the shower.

In a matter of days the floor and shower surround were finished! Look for pictures of the finished room in a future blog. We wouldn’t miss the opportunity to showcase such a modern room.

We welcome your comments, shares, and follows.

Artworks Spokane

Now with the launch of a second location in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, we thought it necessary to explain the differences between the purpose of the two locations.

Artworks Spokane building facade

Artworks Spokane’s Studio in Spokane Valley, WA. Prepare to be Inspired

Since 1994 Artworks Spokane has been developing into a decorative arts authority here in Spokane, Washington. Nancy has been known and recognized nationally for her teaching abilities, knowledge, and technique. Along with classes in Faux, Concrete, and Plasters, Artworks Spokane specializes in custom contracting. In 2010 we opened the doors to our Marietta studio, Studio 8, with the sole purpose of having a location where finishes are displayed, clients can meet around a design table and discuss options, classes can be held with plenty of room and inspiration, and supplies can be purchased for do-it-yourself projects.

custom work by Artworks Spokane

From Left to Right: Plaster wall finish with Aspen Tree relief; Custom built wine rack buffet; Covered sun porch concrete overlay floor; Decorative Concrete overlay countertop

Artworks Spokane focuses on the Contracting side of a very creative business. “Transforming Ordinary Surfaces into Works of Art” is our tagline and it is what we pride ourselves on doing. Just about any surface that stands still long enough can be transformed into something beautiful! Walls, Floors, Countertops, Showers, Ceilings, Cabinetry, Furniture, Driveways, Patios and more, are just a few of the surfaces we specialize in transforming. We also hold classes in the studio. These classes range in skill level from beginner to the contractor seeking new certifications. The showroom has been finished with many of the techniques we offer and holds thousands of samples available by our highly qualified and trained team of artisans. We still sell Chalk Paint® and we carry many other sundries needed to get your job done, as well as the products to the classes we teach.

A few of our favorite things at the Coeur d'Alene store

CdA specializes in Chalk Paint®, hand painted furniture, pottery and glass, teas and florals.

Now, what is different about Coeur d’Alene? Artworks Coeur d’Alene is an extension of Artworks Spokane. This location is a boutique featuring hand painted furniture, home decor, and Chalk Paint®. Artworks Cd’A is a retail driven location. Both stores carry the tagline “transforming ordinary surfaces into works of art”. In our Coeur d’Alene store this is found in everything we have for purchase. The hand painted furniture has been transformed to breathe new life and begin a second phase. We only choose the highest quality pieces to invest time in. As for the home decor and gifts? Each item entering our store has gone through a rigorous examination as to whether it falls under the tagline’s standards. Hand crafted jewelry, unique candles, pottery and glass, dinnerware and teas are just a few of the beautiful, high quality items you will find in our one-of-a-kind home decor boutique.

I hope this helps you in understanding the difference between the two locations. While both carry Chalk Paint® and feature our custom work, Spokane is designed to focus on the custom contracting side, and Coeur d’Alene is designed to cater to the retail end. We love beautiful things. We are passionate about transforming ordinary surfaces into works of art. And we support those who do!

Please feel free to leave a comment and share our blog. We love our clients, customers, and friends!

How To: 5 Affordable Ways to Update Your Kitchen

It happens… eventually. We can’t help it. Most kitchens will need updating at some point or another. Just the mention of updating your kitchen can bring dollar signs to your mind and a rapid heartbeat to your chest. Unless “unlimited funds” is something you can claim, most of us find ourselves looking for an affordable way to keep our homes up-to-date.  Whether you are wanting to stay on top of the trends or get your home ready for resale, there are affordable ways to keep it current. Realtors say the two areas people look at first are kitchens and bathrooms. Sounds like the best place to start!

We want to share five affordable ways to update your kitchen, the hub of the home.

ONE: Refinish Your Cabinets

Oak cabinets with a Graphite blend

Oak cabinets with a facelift of a custom Graphite blend.

Repainting your cabinets may seem like a huge undertaking, but you save 1/2 – 2/3 what you would spend on replacing your cabinets! Older cabinets are also generally made with real wood and not pressed board. As long as your cabinets are in good shape, a facelift will often suffice for an update. Not to mention, painted cabinets are the “hot” trend right now. When Artworks does a custom kitchen finish we use only the highest quality paints for durability. These products are specifically designed for cabinets and furniture as opposed to general wall paint, therefore they are light-fast and non-fading.

The finishes available to you are almost limitless. Between color, technique, and cabinet style – no two jobs are alike! We have transformed golden oak cabinets to cherry with water based stains that do not require sanding. We have added texture to create dimension and detail, transforming ordinary, plain cabinets into unique pieces of art. We can transfer images (even your own photographs) onto the surface, then stain or glaze to truly customize your cabinet doors.  There are options that include metallic foils, paints, glazes, waxes, and plasters. From french country to ultra modern, there is a solution that is just right for you. Your cabinets can be the focal point to a perfectly stunning kitchen for a fraction of the cost of new cabinetry.

Our studio is full of cabinet and furniture finish samples. Let us help you figure out the product best suited for your desired finish.

Old White and Provence kitchen cabinets

These cabinets got some extra love! Old White covers the Golden Oak and Provence was used to embellish the detail of the doors. The PERFECT hardware was found and installed to complete the look. Although you can’t see it – the island was done in contrasting fashion. The base is Provence.

awesome glass hardware for updated cabinets

I told you! This hardware was practically MADE for these cabinets. Sometimes the perfect find seems almost custom!

TWO: Resurface Your Countertops

There are so many options for your countertop. You may find yourself overwhelmed with all the choices, lingo, and cost comparisons. Laminate, Granite, Tile, Silestone, Corian, Marble, Man-Made Composite countertops, Concrete – each one has it’s strengths and weaknesses, it’s purpose and attraction. We have done our research to guarantee we know the benefits and limitations of each one. Our specialty is with concrete overlays. We offer the following concrete options:

SkimStone™ – a hybridized Portland cement that is troweled directly onto your surface. This product is very thin and can go over old or new substrates when properly prepared.

SkimStone countertops

SkimStone Countertops: This product goes over tile, laminate, concrete, corian, new substrate, etc.

DesignerTops™ – highly engineered concrete overlays for incredible bonding to both existing and newly fabricated countertop and vanity surfaces.

Granicrete Countertops

DesignerTops countertops have options other overlays cannot provide – glass pieces, stone, mica flecks, etc. embedded into the surface.

Formed Concrete – Using concrete specifically designed for “poured in place” fabrication, these countertops are constructed on-site, making for a seamless countertop.

Poured in place concrete countertops

“Poured in place” concrete countertops offer a contemporary look with seamless installation.

In order to keep from writing a novel about the differences of each surface (including the surfaces you are more familiar with) I will compare just one aspect of each of these surface options: color/artistic freedoms – the ability to control/manipulate color.

Granite: No – color and grain can differ from sample, it is best to choose at the stone yard.

Ceramic Tile: Sort of – it comes in many colors and patterns. As for artistic pattern – many things can be embellished and customized. There is also the possibility of mosaic.

Solid Surfacing: Sort of – it also comes in many colors and styles, including those that mimic concrete and stone. Stone finishes can look more uniform than natural.

Laminate: Sort of – this also comes in a variety of colors and patterns.

Now for the products we specialize in:

SkimStone™: Yes – this product can mimic venetian plaster and stone looks, endless patterns, textures, stenciled or hand-painted designs – the possibilities are endless. With 90 standard color and shade options we can create custom colors by layering colors and tints.

DesignerTops™: Yes – the design possibilities are unlimited! Unlike Granite your color options are endless enabling you to customize your countertop to the surrounding room – not the other way around! You can also have more depth, texture, and movement with the addition of glass pieces, rocks, mineral flakes, etc. Achieve a very high end look without the cost!

Formed Concrete: Sort of – The artistic limitations with this are bound by forms, stamps and product base color. There is a white mix and a grey mix, both of which can be dyed or textured.

With a concrete overlay you can go right over your existing countertop, as long as your countertops are secure and not falling apart. Decorative Concrete Overlays are a very affordable solution to updating your counter. The options can look like concrete, granite, marble, stone, etc. The formed concrete countertops require more prep in removing the existing counter and building a form onsite. For more information on each of the products listed above, download our comparison sheet.

And as with the cabinet samples, we have hundreds of concrete countertop samples to view in our studio. We also pride ourselves on custom sample boards before we begin your job.

Don’t be overwhelmed or settle for what you think are your only options. We are happy to walk you through the design process and give you a countertop you’ll cherish (or be proud to put on the market).

THREE: Restore Your Floor

epoxy floor done by Artworks Spokane

Imagination is the only limitation when it comes to your kitchen floor.

Your floor is another surface that can make or break your room. There are limitless possibilities for restoring your floor: tile, hard wood, linoleum, laminate… we offer several options that are quite affordable AND unique: concrete overlays, acid finishing, marquetry staining, concrete polishing, epoxy coatings, and paint.

Concrete Overlays: These floors are seamless, custom, and quite contemporary. The product can go over radiant heat and many existing floors. We use two products when finishing a floor with concrete – SkimStone™ and Elitecrete™. The color and stenciling options for SkimStone™ are limitless. Elitecrete offers more texture and a different approach for coloring.

Concrete Overlay Floors by Artworks Spokane

Concrete overlays can be neutral or focal – they can cause the floor to “disappear” or POP.

Acid Finishing: This technique is done to an existing concrete floor or over a new concrete overlay. The concrete can be troweled with texture or smoothly to give you the look you are going for.

Acid Floors done by Artworks Spokane

Acid stained floors have subtle movement and are one of a kind.

Marquetry Staining: Marquetry: (n) Inlaid work made from small pieces of variously colored wood or other materials.

This technique is a great way to take a new or existing hard wood floor and make it a focal point. With stencils and wood stains this process can make your hard wood floor look as though it has marquetry patterns and embellishments at a fraction of the cost!

Marquetry staining done by Artworks Spokane

Marquetry can be done on wood and cork.

Concrete Polishing and/or Dye Stains: This is another option for existing concrete floors. Most people don’t realize when concrete is polished it brings out the beauty of the aggregate and the unique features in each pour. The finished product is honed and compacted to such a high degree it is virtually stain resistant and maintenance free. The look is modern and clean.

Polished concrete done by Artworks Spokane

Polished concrete has a beautiful sheen – adds the feel of quality. The color from the dye stains in this yogurt shop gives character and charm.

Epoxy Coatings: This technique is pictured in the beginning of the kitchen section (the checkerboard floor). Epoxy coatings are extremely durable, seamless, and have a myriad of design options! There are additives that can be added to the epoxy to give it shimmer and texture. Colors are swirled together or solid. Patterns can be implemented as well as designs, typically done underneath the layer of epoxy. The end result is a smooth glossy finish.

Collage of Epoxy Coating floors done by Artworks Spokane

Epoxy Coatings bring interest and depth.

Chalk Paint®: This option for flooring has gotten a bad rap. If done improperly it can be devastating to have it wear off so quickly however, when done correctly and with the proper sealers the result is fantastic and it doesn’t get much more affordable. If your floor is in good shape, you just want a change, you can paint a new design. Chalk Paint®, Annie Sloan’s paint adheres to most surfaces without priming or sanding! Imagine your favorite image as one large graphic on your kitchen floor, or a border with solid colors. This option opens endless possibilities.

Chalk Paint® floor cloth done by Artworks Spokane.

A floor painted with Chalk Paint®. Sealed with three coats of Lacquer for durability. This floor cloth has weathered three Home Shows.

FOUR: How to Select Quality Products and Training

“I’ll just run to Home Depot/Lowe’s/Ace and get myself some stuff to do this.” Avoid the temptation! The products we use are specifically designed for superb performance and quality finishing. Run to Artworks. We can educate you on the products. We also offer workshops to train you how to finish most all of these surfaces. With so many products available to you it is easy to become confused and overwhelmed. We often have customers that come to us after something has gone wrong – discoloration, delamination, failure to cure, undesirable end color or result. We listen intently and guide each one in a direction that will provide them the results they desire! Sometimes we are handed the job to correct, but often our clients love doing it themselves and simply need some direction and knowledge. If you are getting ready to start a project and want to make sure your techniques and products are best for the desired end result, feel free to stop in. One of our artisans will be happy to hear your game plan and make any suggestions as for product.

FIVE: Why use Artworks Spokane

Why should you hire Artworks to complete the job? There are so many reasons! Let me count the ways!

1) We are artists first, contractors second.

2) We love color and design.

3) We notice texture, fashion, trends, and color theory.

4) We pay attention to details, balance, and flow.

5) We think outside the box.

6) We love a challenge.

7) We thrive on transforming ordinary surfaces into works of art.

8) And finally, we crave this work. It is our passion and drive to make your vision a reality.

Most of us don’t want to take the time to invest in an update ourselves. And when we do tackle something of this nature we definitely don’t want to waste our time doing it over or repairing mistakes. The time it takes me to chop an onion is much greater than a trained chef (and it isn’t uniform – how do they do that so quickly AND keep all their fingers in tact, anyway?). The same goes for anything, really. When you are trained and practiced at your craft or passion, it comes quickly, efficiently, and with ease. Will it cost you more to have someone come and do the work for you (any work)? Probably, yes… most of the time, yes. Will you be thrilled with the end result? We guarantee it! We know what we’re doing and do it quickly, correctly, and beautifully.

What is your return on investment? Your time. Your peace of mind. Your satisfaction. We understand the chemistry of our products – what to mix and what to avoid mixing. When you hire Artworks Spokane you can be sure we will take the time to make your vision a reality. Leave it to the pros. You won’t be sorry.

Artworks Artisans

Artworks Team of Artisans will make your vision a reality.

Custom Fun: Pool Surround

It’s our busy time of the year for exterior updating.

Here’s a recent project we completed. The pool surround had been stained and it was failing miserably. These photos are of the surface prior to ANY prepping.

color FAIL

This is how we found the surface.

walkway

patio and pool surround difference

The patio color did not match the pool surround color – another opportunity for Artworks to help!

pool surround

The pool surround.

So we came in and did a new decorative concrete overlay. The results speak for themselves. Nice to have the patio, pool surround and sidewalk match.

walkway

The walkway from the front to the back yard.

patio_sauna

Don’t mind our blue tape… we take surface prep seriously!

pool surround

The finished pool surround with one cohesive look.

This project, like others, was at the mercy of the weather. We so appreciate customers with patience. The job was finished as quickly as possible while being held off due to rain. Our clients are thrilled with a job well done!

Here’s to a summer of sunshine and swimming!

Studio 8 happenings: Introducing

Well, after 14 posts it’s probably time to introduce ourselves. We really are “family” around here.

Nancy Jones

Nancy teaching the next generation: Grandson Drew is learning the art of decorative concrete countertop overlays.

I’ll start at the top: Nancy Jones is our fearless leader! She has been a decorative artist since 1974 and a decorative painting instructor since 1985. She has experience in all aspects of the decorative painting business….shop owner-retailer, custom painting, and teacher. Her passion lies in creating and teaching. She loves getting her hands dirty and thinking outside the box when it comes to decorative finishes. Her brain is chalk full of product knowledge and information. Though she is stuck at her desk most days doing bids, designing, and lesson planning, she loves it when she gets the chance to work on the occasional custom job.

kim the designer

Kim

Next we have me: Kim Smith. I am the graphic designer, blog writer, social media post-er, website maintainer, and decorative artisan. Custom jobs are few and far between for me as the computer keeps me busy. I started with Nancy back in 8th grade. 😉 Her daughter and I grew up together as BFF’s (this makes me pretty much family). Nancy brought me on to help with custom jobs and that transformed into mainly computer work. I love getting my hands dirty and am able to do any of the finishes we offer.

Carol pic

Carol – mid sentence…

Meet Carol Herrmann. She joined our team in the summer/fall of 2008. This woman is creative with a capital C (I guess that makes her Creative)! She doesn’t particularly enjoy “the rules”. She is a hoot to be around and has a passion and zest for life. She just loves having a good time, seeking adventure, and questioning “what would happen if I did this?” which leads to some amazing creations! Her specialty is concrete overlays for counters, showers, and floors. She also does all of our cabinet jobs!

peggy the muralist

Peggy

And this is Peggy Best. She dedicated herself to this venture in the winter of 2010. She is a muralist and had her own business prior to joining us. This lady pays attention to detail! She loves creating and is meticulous about the finishes and murals she produces. Her infectious laugh and positive outlook make working here in Studio 8 a lot of fun!

Ellen the accountant

Ellen

Now I’d like to introduce you to Ellen. She is our accountant. (She makes out the paychecks.) We love her. She has been a Quickbooks expert and business owner for over 25 years. Inventory, bills, invoices, and a little project management have been her contributions to Studio 8. Ellen is a friend to all and Nancy’s biggest advocate.

Joelle, the marketer

Joelle

This is Joelle. She came to us in April of 2012. Her forte is marketing and advertising. She keeps us out there and in the forefront of our clients, customers, and colleagues. She is always quick to encourage, uplift, and bring joy into each of our lives! This woman won’t be kept down!

Annette, the artisan

Annette

And this is Annette. She just came to us this past spring. She has an extensive background in furniture finishing, owning her own business, and a general love of art and creating. She’s another one that thinks outside of the box and loves a good challenge. We are so happy to have her here. Again, she’s a good one to laugh with and share our work home with.

John the exterior concrete guy

John

We are a pretty big team, but not ALL of us our women! This is John. He is the fearless leader of our decorative concrete team. Most of the jobs he does are exterior: patios, driveways, porches, pool surrounds, resealing, grinding, acid staining… He’s a hard worker and has such a way with our customers! Summer is his crazy time!

John, the concrete assistant

Paul

And John works with Paul! He just came to us this summer. What a great man. He is a hard worker, grateful for a job in this economy, and a talented quick learner! We’re grateful he has joined our team and is helping John tackle the outside world this summer.

That’s us! So nice to meet you.